Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'Green' Balloons...

I have just had the pleasure of working as part of the Green Balloon Campaign team, at the first of many (we hope) public Balloon Art Festivals.

This is the first time I have ever really spent time talking to the public about our industry. Their reactions and comments regarding the balloon sculptures were amazing, everyone from the very young to the not so very young absolutely loved them! I suppose that I should not be so surprised, but it was great hearing their comments!
Sue, Amber & Claire talking to families about the Green Balloon Campaign
"Wow"... "I did not realise that you could make such fantastic things from balloons"? "are they really balloons"? are just a few of many questions we were asked. Comments such as "this is such a beautiful art form", "I have never seen anything like it" and "you really would not know that they were balloons"!

Dolphin sculpture created by Jodie Norris

But what truly amazed me more than anything was that most people that we spoke to did not realise that latex balloons are 100% biodegradable.

Here are a few facts that we shared with the visitors: 

  • Qualatex latex balloons are made from 100% natural latex- not plastic. Qualatex latex balloons are biodegradable, and decompose as fast as an oak leaf. 
  • Latex balloons come from rubber trees. Latex is collected by cutting the tree's bark, then catching the latex in a cup. Latex harvesting does not hurt the tree!
  • Latex balloons are Earth-friendly! Rubber tree's grow in rain forests. Latex harvesting discourages deforestation because latex-producing trees are left intact. A tree can produce latex for up to 40 years!
This for me, is was what made the weekend so rewarding, the opportunity to be able to inform the public the true facts about latex balloons. We talked to both children and adults, school teachers, artists, people from all walks of life. Some shared their concerns regarding the environment, so we informed them of the
BAPIA Code of Practice, the Balloon Council and the Californian Law,  all of which demonstrated  that as a profession and an industry we take environmental issues very seriously!
Picture by Huw Evans Picture Agency- Cardiff
The Red Dragon Centre with their publicity team gave the event such great media coverage, including radio, local and national newspapers. In excess of 40,000 people visited the centre over the festival weekend!

So how did our campaign start?

Bob Armstrong CBA with Bob's daughter Claire Cummings of Dr Bob's Balloons have been the driving force behind the launch of this project. Bob and Claire started the campaign 6 months ago, when they started visiting local schools, giving a fun but clear presentation to the children on how balloons are made, how latex is tapped from rubber tree's and many other important facts including how latex balloons are environmentally friendly. These school visits have been very well received by the schools and pupils alike and it was felt that it was a good time to expand and grow the campaign by creating a public event. Bob and Claire contacted John Bowler at BAPIA (the Balloon and Party Industry Alliance), and they joined forces to take the campaign forward.

Working for the Balloon & Party Industry

This is only the start, it was a fantastic way to start the campaign and has tied in very well with the IBA, International Balloon Month

For more pictures visit www.thegreenballoon   


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